THE TORTURE INCIDENT: I don't have a lot to add to what Kim Du Toit says:
If they're found guilty, I hope these assholes go to jail.
Because when the Islamist pricks do this kind of thing to our soldiers, I want to be able to go after them with a vengeful spirit.
Of course, it's not the same as Saddam's torture -- which was a matter of top-down policy, not the result of assholes who deserve jail or execution, and will probably get one or both. As with other reported misbehavior, it should be dealt with very, very harshly. But those who would -- as Senator Kerry did after Vietnam -- make such behavior emblematic of our effort, instead of recognizing it as an abandonment of our principles -- are mere opportunists.
THE UGLY TRUTH of warfare is that there are no “knights in shining armor” who will always fight for Good. Evil lurks deep in the hearts of all men, and it doesn’t care what flag you wear on your sleeve. We are most vulnerable when we suffer under the burden of tremendous stress – but the ultimate responsibility to resist Evil lies with every individual.
Our soldiers sometimes do horrible things. Disgusting things. Cruel things.
When they do, we must not hide from the truth. Those repsonsible must be identified, prosecuted, and punished appropriately. There must be a public accounting for these crimes.
Because we are a civilized society, we must never give in to the temptation to brush aside such atrocities as “the way things are in war.” For if we fail in this responsibility, we will ultimately become no better than those we are fighting.
This needs to be investigated and prosecuted. If there's more to the story -- whatever that could conceivably be -- let's find out. But if the story is as it appears, there has to be accountability, punishment and disclosure. Indeed, even if this turned out to be a prank, too much damage has already been done and someone needs to be punished.
Under Saddam torturers were rewarded and promoted. In America they must be held to account.
UPDATE: Several readers point out that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer probably wouldn't see a problem here. But let's not let our standards fall so low.
Sgt. Stryker is equally harsh: "Every single angle of this story is disgusting and infuriating." Read the whole thing, which gets much harsher.
MORE: Will Collier emails (and, though his email didn't say so, posts):
What's the difference between what this small group US guys did in Iraq and what Saddam (and every other Arab state) has been doing for years?
In our case, the people who did this will spend most, if not the rest of their lives in Kansas making small rocks out of big rocks.
In every other case, they¹d be promoted.
End of comparison.
Indeed. Which isn't a reason to ignore it, but which is relevant to the lessons people might tend to draw.
STILL MORE: Greyhawk notes an unsung hero: "Does anyone out there think 60 Minutes exposed this story? They didn't. (but they want you to think they did.) This was a case of a courageous individual stepping forward and enabling the Army to police itself."